Three Colours: Red (1994)

three-colours-red

Three Colours: Red – IMDb 242/250

For the first time on my IMDb adventure we delve into the world of French cinema, or more specifically French/Polish cinema, as number 242 on my IMDb list is the final part in the experimental Three Colours trilogy, Three Colours: Red, directed by Krzysztof Kieślowski.

Due to my unrelenting desire of watching things in order, and the fact that the DVD I bought came with all three films, I did also watch Blue and White, which I will briefly touch on.

Three Colours: Blue starts the trilogy with Juliette Binoche starring as Julie, a woman who loses her husband and daughter in a tragic car accident. Supposedly created as an anti-tragedy, Blue is wonderfully filmed and as a piece of art I think it works beautifully, but I did find myself getting a little lost with the story, and some of it just felt unnecessary to me. Such as the random cuts to black – they really went over my head.

6/10 – though on IMDb it just missed out on a place in the top 250.

Three Colours: White, the anti-comedy of the trilogy, is the least highly acclaimed of the three, but probably the one I enjoyed watching the most. It tells the interesting story of a man who’s divorced by his wife in embarrassing circumstances, and his mission to prove to her how much of a man he is. I feel more happens in White and the story flows more succinctly, and is genuinely funny at times, with a much darker tone to Blue which I like. 7/10.

Literally just noticed all three colours make the French flag

Literally just noticed all three colours make the French flag – see how perceptive I am

But anyway, the colour that made it onto my IMDb list was Red, starring Irene Jacob as Valentine Dussault, a part time model who forms an unlikely friendship and bond with Joseph Kern (Jean-Louis Trintignant), a retired judge who now spends his days spying on his neighbours.

Three Colours: Red is described as the anti-romance film, with several relationships or potential romances being told throughout the film, such as the unspoken bond between Valentine and Joseph, Valentine’s phone conversations with her possessive and immature boyfriend, as well as the relationship between two supposedly unrelated characters Auguste and Karin, whose lives intertwine with our main characters.

This film is beautifully shot and clearly filled with imagery and meaning, such as the use of the colour Red, and the occurring scene of an elderly figure struggling to put bottles in a bottle bank (which happens on all three films), however I really could invest in this.

Perhaps I’m just not smart enough, but when a film is more about how it looks and its deeper meanings than the story, I always think something is lost. Though it is brilliantly acted, with the relationship between the two leads an interesting one, the overall plot is forgettable and it’s actually hard to argue there is one. (Perhaps that’s the point)

In fact when writing this review I struggled to remember what actually happened!

Disgust turns to friendship between Valentine and Joseph

Disgust turns into an unlikely friendship between Valentine and Joseph

I’m not someone who can’t watch a film where dialogue is more proficient than action, and the dialogue here, even with subtitles, is excellent. But if when a film ends and the credits hit and you think, well what was the point of that, you know your enjoyment is minimal.

Irene Jacob really holds the film together, and makes it certainly worth a watch, but the b story between Auguste and Karin, which only slightly comes into play at the end rather clumsily trying to tie all the three films together, felt pointless, and while the story is original it didn’t build to a satisfying conclusion and just sort of ended. A metaphor for life? Probably not.

But perhaps I’m just missing the point and French cinema is beyond my understanding. For me though, this is the weakest of the trilogy, but IMDb reviewers clearly disagree.

My Rating: 5/10

Paul

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